March definitely came in like a lion in Brown County.
Strong storms overnight on March 1 packed 70 mile per hour winds and left almost fifty thousand people in the region without power once they passed through.
Brown County had almost 8000 homes without power right after the storm. That number was down to about 2300 at press time, with most homes expecting to have power returned by midnight, March 2.
Wind damage brought down power poles and power lines, leaving roads like Highway 68 south of Mt. Orab closed for hours as crews cleaned up the mess. Structural damage was also evident at many places in the county.
High water was also an issue. No flash flooding was reported, but many roads were temporarily closed overnight and into the day on March 1, slowly reopening as the water receded and cleanup took place.
Jeffery Sites, Senior Forecaster with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, said “We are considering this to be straight line thunderstorm wind damage rather than tornadic.”
Sites said that recent unusually high temperatures definitely contributed to the intensity of the storms.
“We had really warm air throughout the region and a strong cold front moved through and the clash of the two air masses definitely caused the outbreak,” Sites said.
He added that the March 1 storm is much more typical of march or april event.
Sites said that the recent December-February time frame is the warmest winter since 1998 and the 11th warmest recorded since records began being kept in 1872.
The Brown County Emergency Management Agency released a significant amount of information regarding the storm, including information on how residents can benefit from cleanup options.
The statement follows in its entirety:
“In the early morning hours of March 1, 2017, Brown County experienced a two punch storm system that roared thru southwestern Ohio. The National Weather Service (NWS) had issued the potential for severe thunderstorms, hail, flash flooding and possible tornados on Tuesday thru Wednesday. As the storms came into southwestern Ohio, the Severe Thunder Storm and Flash Flood watch and warnings were issued by the NWS multiple times Tuesday evening and into Wednesday morning, to include all of Brown County.
Just before 8:00 AM on Wednesday, the Brown County 9-1-1 Center received a call from an alert citizen that reported rotation on the ground in the area of SR 32 and Klein Road. The All Hazard Out Door Siren Warning System was activated immediately by the 9-1-1 staff and a call was placed to the National Weather Service in Wilmington to alert all of the possible tornado.
Our first responders did a tremendous job in searching the damaged structures for trapped citizens and reported one minor injury. The American Red Cross was on standby to assist with immediate needs of our citizens.
Sheriff Gordon Ellis, Brown County Sheriff, participated in a damage assessment in which members of EMS, law enforcement and government officials were present. This level of participation and cooperation insured that initial information was verified and reduced duplication of effort in providing initial recovery services.
Sheriff Ellis indicated that the County EMA team facilitated this damage assessment meeting and wanted to commend them for their actions. This information was then submitted to the Ohio Emergency Management Agency in Columbus and the National Weather Service office in Wilmington.
The resulting damages that day were wide spread throughout Brown County. The damages reported to the 9-1-1 and Emergency Management Agency (EMA) included a tree into a home on Cumberland, multiple mobile homes destroyed, many roofs were missing metal, shingles, felt, sheathing; there was extensive damage to cars that were smashed by downed trees; multiple locations were without power due to downed poles and wires, as well as farm machinery with multiple barns/outbuildings damaged or destroyed. There were no reports of livestock injured or killed.
All property owners/renters are encouraged to report their damages to their Insurance companies.
Tree materials can be deposed of by going to Bzak, located at 5081 Camp Run Road in Georgetown, Ohio 45121. They can take loads of tree material M-F, 8:00a.m. till 4:00 p.m. They have agreed to take loads both big and small during those hours.
The Brown County Yard Waste drop-off is open during all daylight hours, seven days per week to accept brush and tree materials. It is located at 9240 Mt. Orab Pike, Georgetown, Ohio 45121, next to Adams Brown Recycling.
Lumber and building materials are not accepted at either site.
For questions about these debris removal options, pleased contact Dan Wickerham (513) 403-2495.
Brown County Solid Waste Authority: firstname.lastname@example.org.Office (937) 378-3431×102.Cell (513) 403-2495.
Remember to be safe in cleaning up debris around your business and homes, wearing gloves, eye protection and boots. Should you see a downed wire, call 9-1-1. This is also an excellent time to check you Weather Alert Radio, flashlights and generators to ensure all are in ready for the next storm.
Should you have questions or additional concerns, please contact the Brown County Emergency Management Agency Director Barbara Davis by calling (937) 378-1658 during business hours of 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM weekdays.
The Mt. Orab Fire Department also released the following information to the public.
“During the early morning storms on March 1st 2017, the Mt. Orab Fire Department responded to 38 calls for reports of storm damage. These calls ranged from wires and trees down to structural damage and collapse. The most significant damage reported was in Pike Township. Some roads had to be closed until street crews could get trees and wires removed from roadways.
The fire department would like to explain to residents that during times of storms or high call volume incidents there is an order of operations which must be followed to ensure the safety of our community. This order of operations begins by prioritizing calls as they come in. Calls which have reported injuries, medical emergencies, people trapped or structural collapse are considered to be life threats. Therefore, these calls become the highest priority. Calls for property damaged by trees or wind pose the next level of threat as they could become unstable and uninhabitable. Finally, reports of trees and wires down, transformer fires, and flooded roadways are considered the lowest priority of response.
We would like to remind residents that storm season is here. During these storm events please tune in to local news channels or install apps on your phones to receive immediate notifications and updates. Know that weather sirens are designed to notify people who are outside that storms are approaching and it is time to take cover. Many people will not hear weather sirens if they are indoors or sleeping. Please take cover if you hear the sirens or are directed to by weather authorities.
Once the storm is over, be cautious as you are checking damage. Downed wires can be deadly. Do not attempt to cut up downed trees which are entangled in wires and do not drive through flood waters. Please be safe and allow trained crews to assess damage and restore services.”
March definitely came in like a lion in Brown County.